From landscaping to gardening, most of us know the basics about plant life. Every plant has its own specific set of needs. Some may only need water, some may need compost, and others may thrive in different temperatures. In addition, plants require a variety of soil pH levels. Beginning gardeners do not always have this information readily available to them. They plant their gardens and do everything that they believe they have to. They add the right fertilizer, water it exactly how experts recommend it, and cannot understand why their plants are still dying.
The answer is usually in the pH level of the soil. It might not be your first thought, but before you start a garden, check the soil. All you need is one simple kit, and you can test the pH and move forward to the next step. PH levels are not permanent; once you know yours, you can work to get the soil to the right level. Still, if you have never checked your soil’s pH, how do you know how to do it? How do you know which products work? With this guide and review of our top picks for pH testers, we will help you answer that question.
How We Chose Our Ratings
There is no point to this review if we are not truthful with you. It is important for us to give you the right information so that your garden can thrive. We look at these products with a critical eye and make sure that they meet our standards. First, we look at what the product claims to do. How easy is it to use? How many functions does it serve? Second, we look at what customers are saying about the product. Does it have good reviews? We try to balance out the pros and cons in a way that makes sense.
It is not as simple as reading the label and deciding which sounds best. We consider multiple factors, including cost, reviews, and the reputation of the brand. Reputation means a lot when it comes to shopping around for pH testers. We also value testimonials from people who have used the product. It is important to us that our ratings are as accurate as possible so that you are confident in the tester you choose.
Types of Soil Testers
Before we tell you our top picks for the best soil pH testers, you should know the types of options on the market. There are three different types of soil testers. The first is an electronic tester, which has a digital meter that allows you to read the pH on a display screen. The second type is a meter with prongs that you can insert into the ground. The last and generally most accurate test is a chemical test. These can be completed using chemicals or test strips.
Top 7 Best Soil pH Testers
This is a premium kit without the higher price tag of some others. You should know that you can perform up to 80 tests using this kit. Not only does it allow you test the pH, but it also allows you to check for the NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) ratio. Even if you have never tested your soil before, you don’t need to worry about what to do with this kit. It gives you systematic instructions that are easy for you to read and follow. While it does take time for the results to appear, it is still faster than it would be if you needed to send a sample to a lab.
As an additional benefit, all of the test agents are refillable, and the whole kit comes in a carrying case for easy travel. When it comes to home kits, this is one of the best on the market. Keep in mind that this is a chemical test kit, so you will need to be careful when handling the substances. However, it is one of the best kits available by far.
- Soil Testing Simplified! Soil Savvy is a Ready-To-Use professional-grade soil test kit available to the general public...
- Analysis provides a full report, comprised of soil pH and 14 nutrients including (N,P,K)
- A truly Sustainable approach to fertilizer management, Soil Savvy determines what nutrients are needed by your plants...
Soil Savvy isn’t kidding around when it comes to soil testing. As one of the most popular options, it has a variety of functions that you can rely on. In fact, it performs almost all of the same tasks that you would expect from a professional lab. The best part of Soil Savvy is that you can have those results faster and perform the test yourself. While it covers pH, it also allows you to test for macronutrients and micronutrients. It performs a series of chemical tests to inform you of the levels of nitrate, ammonium, phosphorus, aluminum, copper, zinc, magnesium, sulfur, sodium, iron, and much more. It also offers recommendations of fertilizers based on what your current pH level and what your soil needs.
This Atree tester is a digital soil meter that tests light, moisture, and pH. One of the benefits of this particular tester is that it doesn’t require any batteries for use. Simpler is sometimes better, and in this case, there isn’t any heavy maintenance or any hard-to-follow instructions. Just insert it into the ground, and you’re good to go. Make sure that you find soil that is soft because you do not want to risk damaging the prongs or getting an inaccurate read.
This tester can be used an unlimited number of times! Insert it into loose soil whenever you need to test the pH. When it comes to accuracy, this one is about average. It will give you a correct read every time. While you may see a couple points’ difference from other tests, it is not enough of a difference that it would change the steps you need to take to keep your pH healthy for your plants.
For many reviewers, chemical tests tend to come out above the digital tests because it is difficult to get a wrong chemical reaction out of these tests. This particular test kit uses test strips to test the soil. Everything you need is inside, and it comes at a low price. You can read all of your results at home, at your convenience. This product isn’t just for those who know what they’re doing either. Beginners can get a lot of use out of this tester. The instructions are easy to follow, and the results are easy to read.
This device has outstanding reviews. It does occupy a higher price range, but for a good reason! Customers praise the older model of this device as lasting for years. The newest model is just as good. It’s a digital tester, so you don’t have to worry about chemicals or electricity. All that you have to do is push it into the ground to get a proper read.
While some people will spend money buying a new tester every year, this one is going to last. Its durability is highly renowned. Not to mention, it allows you to test pH and the moisture of the soil over a large expanse of land. Just keep in mind that you do need to wipe it down after every use. Otherwise, you may contaminate your results.
Durability is only one of the compliments given to this tester. To its credit, Kelway is also popular for its customer service and repairs. With your product, you will first receive all of the necessary literature to use it. In addition, if you have any problems, you can have it sent in for repairs. Not only is it durable and reliable, but the company also stands by its product if something does happen.
This tester by Dr. Meter lets you test the level of moisture in the soil easily. Whether your plants are indoor or outdoor, you can easily know when to water them by inserting the tester into the soil. The apparatus penetrates right to the roots, giving an accurate read -- readings are arranged on a scale of 1 to 10 with a color-coded system.
And no, you don’t need any power supply to run this tester, which saves you in the way of additional costs. Don’t worry if you’re on a budget, either, as this Dr. Meter is easy on the pocket. We’re also sure the compact design will let you move the tester to your outdoor plants hustle-free.
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Another soil meter that will save you in power costs (considering you don’t need electricity or batteries to run it).The Swiser soil meter boasts three different functions. Of course, it tests the soil’s moisture level, but it doesn’t stop here. It checks the PH and sunlight levels, too, so you don’t have to purchase separate testers for the same.
Yet, this meter is affordable enough, making it a good option if you’re on a budget. Plus, the lightweight design makes for effortless movement on your end: you can easily carry the thing from the garden to the lawn and the farm. You also want to know the tester is not only accurate but also gives quick readings thanks to the detection technology it boasts.
Despite the upsides of this Swiser meter, however, you want to be careful to use it in soft soil, but hard soil is likely to damage it.
How to Understand Readings
Now that you have the soil readings, do you know what any of it means? These tests are easy to understand as long as you have some basic information as a foundation. Here is what you need to know about pH readings:
- A pH level of seven is neutral.
- Anything below a 6.5 pH level is acidic, and may not be suitable for plant growth. When it is under 5.0, it is considered very acidic.
- If your meter reads above 7.5, then it is alkaline, and you will not be able to grow plants there.
- If the reading is anywhere between a 6 and 7.5, then trees, herbs, plants, and grasses should have no trouble growing.
You may be trying to figure out what to do if your soil is too acidic or alkaline. The answer is simple. You can use fertilizers, topsoil, and compost to change the pH of the soil.
Once you know that you need a soil pH tester in your life, it is time to figure out how to find the right one. While we have reviewed our favorite products, here is a short guide on how to pick the right one for you. First, consider what might be a necessity for you. With the variety of testers on the market, you are able to choose what will work best based on your situation.
While you should always check ratings and reviews, also pay the product itself some attention. For instance, some tools do more than pH testing. Some may have a moisture or light sensor. If you need something that can serve more than one function, then it may be more convenient and cost-effective to look for a kit that does all of that. Equally, you may need a kit that has a longer probe to test all the way below the plant root.
Of course, you also want to pay attention to price. What product is in your budget? There is no reason to overpay for a pH tester, so keep in mind what your budget is and what you need. Your safest bet is usually the product with the most functions for the best price with high reviews about durability.
A Soil PH Tester Can Save Your Plants
While sunlight, water, and fertilizer are important for the health of your plants, you do not want to forget about testing the pH level of the soil. Even if you do everything else right, if the soil is too acidic or alkaline, the plans will die. Fortunately, there are products on the market that make it easy to read the pH level of soil accurately.
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